Daily Archives: Nov 4, 2011

The thrill of investing in Latin America just isn’t what it used to be.

Brazil has shown the world, once again, that it really doesn’t deserve to be called a ‘high-risk’ market. The country’s Treasury announced on Friday that it had sold $1bn of 30-year bonds after reopening a bond first sold in 2009. Read more

Harrods Buenos Aires – the shopping emporium’s only overseas branch, established in 1914 when Argentina was one of the richest countries in the world – could open its doors again if a British investment fund reportedly negotiating to invest $280m to buy the building and the local brand gets its way. Read more

Polish banks look set to have a very solid year. But that isn’t stopping the country’s new financial services regulator from calling on banks to be moderate in their dividend policies in the light of the growing economic turmoil in Europe. Read more

Things are getting from bad to worst for Egypt’s finances. As Egypt’s generals fret about their next move, the country’s foreign exchange reserves are fast disappearing. The latest numbers show net international reserves fell to $22.1bn at the end of October 2011, down from $24bn a month earlier and $36bn in December before the country’s political unrest started.

That’s 10 months in a row of losses. At the current rate of decline there are only 11 months left before the coffers are empty. That should concentrate minds in Cairo – but whether it will is another matter. Read more

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Among the many reasons Anglo American gave for its willingness to pay $5bn for a majority stake in De Beers, the world’s biggest seller of diamonds, was the drastic shift it has helped bring about in Chinese wedding rituals.

Much has changed since the days when a bride’s worth was measured by the number of duvets her mother would supply the newly-wed couple. Read more

For Jacob Zuma, the country’s president, South Africa’s accession to the ranks of the Brics represented a diplomatic coup but his country also sits a little uneasily beside its peers – it lags behind Brazil, Russia, India and China in terms of the size of its population and economy, as well as its growth rate, which has been increasingly sluggish.

An FT Special Report on South Africa examines a country where economic challenges are becoming secondary to growing political uncertainties and asks if South Africa can navigate this crucial moment in its history. Read more

Whether Groupon’s IPO on Friday signals the return of the big US listing is unclear. But it’s certainly part of a global swing back to the West in equity fund-raising and away from emerging markets.

This week, our chart looks at IPOs, and the figures show the developed world is making something of a comeback. Read more

By Borut Grgic of the transCaspian project

Turkey and Azerbaijan have signed a historic agreement for the shipment of gas from the huge Shah Deniz 2 field in the Caspian Sea to Turkey, the Balkans and central Europe.

This deal is a win-win for everyone, and it is especially important for the Balkans, which are energy-deficient in every way imaginable. Balkan energy infrastructure is old and inefficient and the whole region is over-dependent on gas from Russia. But the new gas deal won’t solve these problems – unless governments also accelerate long-overdue reforms. Read more

Investors have taken in their stride the bad news from Ukraine. International Monetary Fund mission left on Friday without approving the resumption of lending under a vital $15bn financing programme.

They are assuming that Kiev will soon settle its differences with the Fund – and bite the bullet on demands for increases in household energy prices. But if investors are wrong, Ukraine could face a rapid devaluation of the hryvnia, with all that that implies for stability in one of Europe’s more fragile economies. Read more

The worst floods for 50 years in Thailand have seriously disrupted the global supply chains in the automotive and electronics industries, as the FT reports today.

But it is the Thai people who are truly at the sharp end of the supply crisis. Read more

SKS Microfinance, India’s only listed microfinance company, is looking raise around $183m in a share sale later this year.

But given the trouble the industry has gone through – public outcry forced the government to crack down on lenders after several struggling borrowers committed suicide – are investors ready to jump back on the microcredit bandwagon? Read more

It all seems so long ago. During the week to November 2, the promise of a possible solution to the eurozone crisis drove strong flows into EM bond and equity funds according to data from EPFR, the fund flow monitor.

Then we had the Greek referendum fiasco and its lightning resolution – which, while delivering some short term relief has also reminded investors that the eurozone crisis is no longer about Greece and they must worry instead about Italy and the rest of the region.

What clues are there in this week’s EPFR figures as to what will EM investors do next? Read more

* Greek PM scraps referendum plan

* US takes aim at China and Russia over cyber-attacks

* Yingluck banks on $26bn rebuilding plan

* India fighter jet deal soars to $20bn Read more

By Roland Nash of Verno Capital

The chatter in Moscow is of how bad it will be this time.Fear is rising that Russia’s economy and financial markets will once again collapse in response to the international crisis.Yet there is surprisingly little evidence – apart from the equity market – of any real impact. Read more

By Beijing’s standards, the air quality has been perfectly ordinary – nearly two weeks of unbroken smog but not as bad as the acrid smoke that periodically descends on the city.

Yet without any apparent catalyst, popular anger about the pollution has built this week to a new and, for the government, worrying crescendo. Read more

Friday’s top picks from the beyondbrics team: Lex on Unilever’s results and why China will not be rushing to purchase EFSF bonds; the case for international pressure on Syria; the tragedy and effects of Thailand’s flooding; the rates dilemma facing frontier markets; and how Islamic banking is changing Turkey. Read more

A stalled infrastructure project backed by China is rarely a good thing. But the Philippines’ North Luzon railway could be one of the few exceptions – if it can be repurposed into a high-speed airport link. Read more

Despite exhibiting plenty of emerging market habits, Greece remains on the other side of the EM/DM divide. News that the Greek PM has scrapped plans for a referendum on an EU aid has given emerging markets a shot in the arm.

But it looks like the bounce was already on the cards – investors have poured money back into EM this week at a rate not seen since April. Read more

* Greek PM scraps referendum plan

* US takes aim at China and Russia over cyber-attacks

* Yingluck banks on $26bn rebuilding plan

* India to open bids for $11bn fighter deal Read more